The beautiful lyre-shaped leaves of the Ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf fig, are the reason we love to have them in our homes. They are large, striking, and shiny dark green, growing upwards and outwards in a pleasingly circular fashion. The fiddle leaf fig is one of the trendiest houseplants around.
Given their incredible beauty, I completely empathize with anyone facing the frustration of a fiddle leaf losing all its leaves and ending up with a bare, woody stem. Which begs the question: is there anything you can do to save a fiddle leaf fig with no leaves?
In short, yes, there absolutely is. Let’s look at whether a fiddle leaf can survive with no leaves and what you can do to help them grow back.
Can a fiddle leaf fig survive with no leaves?
A fiddle leaf fig can survive without leaves as long as its stem and roots are healthy. Indeed, it is possible to revive a bare fiddle leaf fig if you can locate the cause of its ill-health in a timely manner. Treating its ailment along with water and warmth should suffice to bring it back to life.
Most of us have experienced the death of a beloved houseplant, and it never gets less tiresome. By the time houseplants start to shed their leaves, it usually means they’re suffering from distress of some sort and need urgent attention. Unfortunately, fiddle leaf figs are quite dramatic and like to lose a bunch of leaves all at once.
The good news is that leaf shedding does not necessarily constitute a death sentence for your Ficus. If the stem and root system of the plant is still healthy and intact, there’s a good chance you can save it. Let’s take a closer look at how to revive a fiddle leaf fig with no leaves.
1. Check your fiddle leaf fig’s stem and roots
To ascertain whether your fiddle leaf has a strong chance of survival, you first need to inspect it for any remaining signs of life. This involves taking a closer look at its stem, branches, and root system. And the first rule is, work gently.
Feel the stem and branches of your Ficus. If they are woody, dry, and brittle, it may be that your plant has already died. If they are still supple and slightly green inside, there’s a good chance you can bring your plant back to life.
Similarly, gently check the roots. If they are dry and shriveled, you’re out of luck, but if they seem healthy, your plant has a fighting chance.
2. Repot your fiddle leaf (if it has root rot) and remove any decay
If you suspect your fiddle leaf fig has root rot and that this may be the reason behind your fiddle leaf fig having no leaves suddenly, you may want to repot your plant and remove any dead or decaying wood and roots. That being said, this process can be very stressful for fiddle leaf figs, so try to avoid this unless it’s your last resort.
When repotting your fiddle leaf fig, make sure you select high-quality, well-draining potting mix, which tends to be the best soil for fiddle leaf figs. Using clean tools, spread out the fiddle leaf’s root ball and cut back any moldy, soggy, or dead roots. Gently replant your fiddle leaf, pressing the soil down securely around it.
3. Water your plant
Water is crucial to reviving an ailing plant, but you need to strike a delicate balance between overwatering your fiddle leaf fig and underwatering it. With no leaves, a fiddle leaf fig will not use as much energy as normal, so it won’t need as much hydration.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to how often you should water a fiddle leaf fig, you want to keep the soil moist but not drenched. Too much water will further damage your plant. Test your soil’s moisture with a fingertip every few days and hydrate accordingly while ensuring excess water doesn’t pool in your fiddle leaf’s drip tray – while avoiding waiting too long, so your fiddle leaf fig isn’t underwatered accidentally.
4. Ensure it gets adequate warmth and sunlight
These tropical beauties love warmth and sun, and it may very well be that your fiddle leaf is shedding leaves because of a lack of light. To try and counter this, make sure your plant is situated in an area that means your fiddle leaf fig’s light needs are being met through ensuring it receives plenty of sunlight. Close to a window is best.
Warmth can play a big role in a fiddle leaf fig’s road to recovery. Once you’ve cleaned up and watered your plant, get it to a sunny spot as a matter of urgency so that it can start the process of regrowth.
5. Prevention is better than cure
While it’s certainly feasible to get a fiddle leaf back to its best state, this is not always possible. This is why the best recourse with fiddle leaf figs is to treat any potential ailments before the plant starts to shed its leaves.
You can be alerted to risks by carefully inspecting your plant every few days for any sign of ill health. In particular, brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig almost always serve as a warning sign and warrant action. In doing so, you may find yourself in a much better position to save your plant before your left with the more dire situation of trying to revive a fiddle leaf fig with no leaves.
Can you save a fiddle leaf fig with no leaves?
Even if a fiddle leaf fig has no leaves at all, it can still be saved if there are biological functions at play in the roots or stem of the plant. However, if a fiddle leaf is completely dry and contains no more sap, it is beyond the point of redemption.
Getting a fiddle leaf back to its former glory can be a rewarding, if arduous, process. Don’t expect miracles overnight. If you’re going to revive your fiddle leaf, it’s going to take plenty of time, care, and patience. But there is a disclaimer.
In cases of lesser ailments, it’s worth trying to revive your tree. This includes dehydration, insufficient nutrients, insufficient light, pest infestations, and mild root rot.
If the problem is severe, like if your fiddle leaf fig has a bad bacterial infection or root rot that is extremely far gone, it may be better to dispose of your fiddle leaf and start again.
Should you choose to get rid of your plant, make sure you dispose of it safely as the sap in this plant can be poisonous. This is especially the case if you have any pets given that, for example, the fiddle leaf fig is toxic to cats, as well as other animals.
How do I get my fiddle leaf fig to regrow leaves?
To regrow a fiddle leaf fig’s leaves, you need to consistently regulate their water intake and access to sunlight while it recovers. In addition to this, you can try notching its stem (making small cuts on its central trunk) to encourage new growth.
Once a fiddle leaf fig has no leaves, all you can do is be patient while it regrows. Because it doesn’t have its big leaves to show you it’s feeling unwell, this process requires careful monitoring, especially when it comes to the moisture levels of its soil.
What is notching?
If the stem of your fiddle leaf is still very healthy, you can try to encourage new growth through a process known as notching your fiddle leaf fig. This entails making small cuts above the nodes of the stem. Nodes are barely noticeable thickenings of the stem that you will need to feel for with your thumb and forefinger.
Will the leaves grow back on my fiddle leaf fig?
The leaves on your fiddle leaf fig can grow back, although it depends on how much of the root system is still intact and how healthy the stem is. Together with this, it will rely on the level of care you provide for your plant. Preventing further damage is crucial.
Reviving a fiddle leaf fig with no leaves is hard, and there is no guarantee that your efforts will pay off. However, there is also no saying they won’t if you try, especially if you follow the guidelines outlined in the first section of this article.
Water and sunlight can do wonders for being able to get a fiddle leaf back to full health, as can a thorough cleaning of a fiddle leaf fig’s leaves and the removal of old, dead wood to make room for new growth. With all this in mind, be cautioned that it can take months or even years for fiddle leaf fig leaves to regrow, so harness your patience.